About Curriculum Design

The key purpose of curriculum design is to ensure that students’ learning experiences are integrated, coherent and contribute towards their personal, academic and professional learning and development.

While there are many different approaches to curriculum design, the Australian Catholic University’s focus is on the effective integration of learning and teaching. This depends on a curriculum that is transparent and effective in terms of:

  • student learning outcomes and graduate attributes
  • assessment tasks
  • learning activities
  • content
  • teaching strategy
  • approaches to learning

A central task of curriculum design is the alignment of intended learning outcomes with learning activities and assessment strategies. This is known as Constructive Alignment as proposed by John Biggs. Curriculum design begins with the rationale for a unit or course. The rationale comprises the real-world or authentic imperatives for the unit or course. It provides the teaching and learning strategy with direction and purpose; it informs the selection of the outcomes we intend students to learn, and directs the alignment of teaching, learning and assessment to the achievement of those outcomes.

Further Information

Further information about constructive alignment, and advice and support with curriculum design can be obtained by contacting the Academic Developers, Educational Designers or eLearning Advisors in the Learning and Teaching Centre or your Faculty’s Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching).

Biggs, J. B. & Tang, Catherine (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university (4th ed.) Retrieved from http://ezproxy.acu.edu.au/login?url=http://ACU.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=798265, 23 October 2015.

Meyers, N & Nulty, D. (2009) How to use (five) curriculum design principles to align authentic learning environments, assessment, students’ approaches to thinking and learning outcomes in Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 34 (5), pp565-577 Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02602930802226502, 23 October, 2015

Nulty, D. (2012) Curriculum design, Griffith University. Retrieved from https://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/437350/Curriculum-Design-Learning-Objectives-and-Outcomes.pdf, 23 October 2015.